Death is no obstacle when there’s money to be made, which is how we arrived at “An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert,” a new residency at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Whether she would have wanted to or not, Houston will be looking to dance with somebody for six months starting October 26th.
The late singer’s estate has been pursuing this lucrative likeness since 2019. They even launched a truncated tour in COVID-plagued 2020, though the planned US leg never came to pass. This Vegas residency will feature “all the hits,” and see a very Houston-like simulacrum performing with backup singers, background dancers, and a live four-piece band.
Responses have ranged from ‘why not’ to ‘what the hell,’ but Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law, former manager, and current manager of her estate, has attempted to assuage those concerns. Via Variety, she said in a statement, “In 2011, Whitney and I discussed her idea of an intimate, unplugged concert tour. It was a project we called ‘Whitney Unplugged’ or ‘An Evening with Whitney.’ While Whitney’s no longer with us, her voice and legacy will live on with us forever. ‘An Evening with Whitney’ is another chance for us to relive and celebrate the talent that we were so lucky to receive for more than three decades and we’re excited to bring this cutting-edge musical experience to the fans who supported the pop culture phenomenon that was Whitney Houston, because they deserve nothing less.”
You see? Because the singer wanted to do an “intimate, unplugged concert tour,” she definitely would have agreed to have her ghost trotted across a Vegas stage for the enjoyment of half-drunk tourists. Glad that’s cleared up.
Assisting Houston’s estate is Base Hologram, a company that specializes in turning the dearly departed into dollar bills. CEO Brian Becker said, “It’s an honor to be able to help add to her legacy with this project and present her incomparable talent in a way that will resonate with longtime fans and new generations alike. If you were lucky to see Whitney perform live, this is an opportunity to see her again. If you weren’t so lucky, this is the closest you may ever get to experiencing what it was like.”
Tickets for “An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert” go on sale Friday, July 23rd, at noon ET. Those so inclined can book their seat through Ticketmaster.
This joins recent hologram tours put on by the estates of Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, Frank Zappa, and Ronnie James Dio. Last year, Kanye West arranged a hologram of then-wife Kim Kardashian’s late father to appear at her birthday party, some four months before she filed for divorce.
If you want to see a slightly more conventional representation of Whitney Houston, the estate-authorized film biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody recently cast its star, Naomi Ackie. That’s due out around Thanksgiving of 2022.